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Posts Tagged ‘pancetta’

Winter Minestrone with Chicken

Chicken does not belong in a good Minestrone soup! yes I know this. But it does add a little more bulk and flavor of course. Besides, I had some left over chicken that was begging me to be put to good use. So the chicken is totally optional here. Leave it out and you’ll have a wonderful Winter Minestrone soup….without the chicken. And this soup really is wonderful. It’s packed full of flavor from all the vegetables and pancetta. And if you have a left-over piece of Parmesan rind, please don’t throw it out, but instead toss it into the soup. Trust me, it brings this soup to a whole new level.

Winter Minestrone

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 onion, chopped

2 carrots, peeled and chopped

2 celery stalks, chopped

3 ounces thinly sliced pancetta, chopped

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 russet potato, peeled and cubed

1 (14.5 oz) can diced tomatoes

1 fresh rosemary sprig

1 (15 oz) can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed

28 ounces chicken stock (recommend homemade but can use store-bought)

1 ounce piece Parmesan cheese rind (if you have it on hand)

1 pound fresh baby spinach, lightly chopped if you desire

2 cups shredded pre-cooked chicken (optional)

2 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian parsley

salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

Heat the oil in a large heavy pot over medium heat. Add onions, carrots, celery, pancetta and garlic. Saute until onions are translucent, about 10 minutes. Add potatoes and saute for 2 minutes. Add tomatoes and rosemary sprig. Simmer until tomatoes starts to break down, about 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, blend 3/4 cup of the beans with 1/4 cup of the chicken stock in a food processor or blender until almost smooth. Add the pureed bean mixture, remaining chicken stock and Parmesan rind to the vegetable mixture. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Simmer until the potatoes pieces are tender, about 15 minutes. Stir in the whole beans, baby spinach, pre-cooked chicken and parsley. Heat through until the spinach is wilting and the chicken is brought up to temperature. Remove the Parmesan rind and rosemary stem. Enjoy hot.

Winter Minestrone Soup with Chicken

Source: adapted from Giada De Laurentiis

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Best Marinara Sauce

Best Marinara Sauce

I love love love tomatoes and Marinara sauce. I would eat it 7 days a week if they let me. But they won’t let me. Actually, truth be told, I eat a tomato every day for lunch and my coworkers love to point it out to me and so I never hear the end of it. 🙂 But I can’t help myself, lunch just dosn’t seem right without my shiny little red friend. Sorry, got a little sidetracked there.

Now for the Marinara sauce. This is without a doubt the very best Marinara sauce that I have tried out so far. This has become a favorite in our house and I’m happy to report that even my son likes it (and that’s saying a lot because he is used to only the best from his grandmother who makes a mean pasta and meatball). If you have a food mill this is a breeze to make, if not, it’s a little more work but well worth the effort. This sauce freezes really well so I always make a big batch and keep it in the freezer for easy use. Enjoy.

Ingredients:

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

1/4 pound diced pancetta

2 large Spanish onions, diced

Kosher salt

4 large garlic cloves, minced

4 (28 ounce) cans Italian diced or plum San Marzano tomatoes

Directions:

Coat a large sauce pot with olive oil and add diced pancetta. Bring the pot to a medium-high heat and cook pancetta for 4 to 5 minutes. Add onion and season generously with salt, stir to coat with olive oil. Cook the onions for 6 to 7 minutes stirring frequently. The onions should become soft and translucent but have no color. Add the garlic and cook for another 2-3 minutes stirring frequently.

Pass the tomatoes through a food mill or if you don’t have a food mill simply just pulse the tomatoes in a food processor to break them up and then press the tomatoes through a sieve. Make sure to press until you have a dry paste left in the sieve. This part can be a little bit of a workout. Make sure to scrape all the delicious pulp off the bottom of the sieve or the food mill. Add the tomatoes to the pot and rinse out 1 of the empty cans with water and add the water to the pot (about 2-3 cups). Season generously with salt (season in baby steps) and taste it to make sure it is seasoned enough. Let the sauce simmer for 2-3 hours, stirring occasionally and tasting frequently.

Serve sauce right away or cool down and then freeze.

Source: Anne Burrell

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